The first three pictures below describe a pannier frame. Originally, before the trip, we would have liked to have something like this. It helps disperse the weight and bulk of your gear throughout the bike. Where we come in when a design idea comes to mind, is not only how to do it, but what to do it with.
The "what" part is where we'll save some money. If we have the material on hand, we can build it with something we own, and not have to go out and buy it. In this case, the aluminum tubing contruction, for the top piece, is from the original material we built the rack over the rear tire with.
We brought these two lengths of tubing to prop the bike in an open field without a tree to lean it next to. Since our trip started, we have realized we only need one piece of tubing. So, the extra piece, became strategically bent, drilled and braced to frame the support for the pannier.
This picture is a close up of the way I connected the fender. Since there is only one place where the pannier frame could be secured, I had to "make" a way the fender could be secured. In this case I overlapped the two rods, made a gasket around them for the adjustable hose clamp to sqeeze them in place. Total cost, 2.39 for the metal rod supporting the the aluminum tubing and 1.05 for the set of four adjustable hose clamps.
Heather purchased of yard of yellow rip-stop nylon fabric to sew the home made pannier material with. We used a 50% off coupon for 6.99 per yard fabric. This fabric was chosen to be light weight, bright colored, and resist tearing. A picture of her finished product will be uploaded soon. We plan on polishing the last few details and packing to be able to leave tomorrow.
The next conversation piece is a pillow case. At first it was chosen more for it's color to reflect the Summer sun through the clear, water-proof bag. On the sunny days we noticed that it was getting particularly hot inside the bag, and that's not good for chocolate anytime, unless you want to lick it off of the inside wrapper.
4 or 5 days after we purchased the pillow case the idea came to us to sew up the sides at the opening, about 3 to 4 inches, to make two tubes for storage and quick access to oranges and apples. This method would not only make them accessible while continuing to ride, it would keep something like that from back being packed in with other things we didn't necessarily want to get into.